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With 5.6 Million People and Counting, the 'Move Your Money' Campaign Worked

Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day prompted millions of Americans to ditch their old predatory financial institutions.


Back in October, in the thick of the Occupy Wall Street protests, we gave you step-by-step instructions for leaving your large predatory bank. Part of the impetus for the project was OWS, of course, but another factor was the establishment of "Bank Transfer Day," which asked people to drop their big banks in favor of community banks or credit unions by November 5.

Almost immediately, data showed that the transfer movement was working, with some credit unions reporting spikes in membership as large as 30 percent. Today, we have even more concrete numbers to show that the "move your money" movement was a success, to the tune of millions of people.

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Students Activists Pressure Colleges to Participate in Bank Transfer Day

With college and university endowments topping $350 billion, activists are putting the pressure on for them to move their money to credit unions.


Campus activists across the country are preparing for Bank Transfer Day, which encourages people to move their money from big banks to community-based credit unions on November 5. But student supporters aren't stopping at encouraging their peers to close their accounts at major banks. They plan to leverage the energy from the Occupy Wall Street movement to push their universities to move their money, too.

Dan Apfel, the executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, a New York City-based nonprofit that works to promote responsible investment practices, says American colleges and universities have collective endowments of more than $350 billion, the majority of which is housed in financial institutions that "have no connection and feel no responsibility to the community." That violates the lofty mission statements colleges have about educating people in order to improve the world: "They use terms like global citizenship all the time," he says, "so they should be acting that way."

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It's Happening: People Are Leaving Their Banks for Credit Unions Credit Unions See an Uptick As People Leave Their Banks

People are getting fed up with the big banks, and credit unions are having the last laugh.

A couple weeks ago, we told you about Bank Transfer Day, a grassroots Facebook effort urging people to shift their funds to credit unions before November 5th in order to stick it to the bigger banks. It seems like it's actually happening. Local news outlets across the country have been reporting huge rises in applications to the nonprofit institutions. Some credit unions are seeing a 30 percent uptick; others have doubled their membership. In September, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions reported a 350 percent increase in web traffic to its online credit union locator. And more than a handful of the customers are volunteering their reason: They're pissed off at the big banks.

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